A recent study claims that young people are intimidated by full stops used in social media communication as they’re interpreted as a sign of anger.
Teenagers and those in their early twenties who are known as Generation Z – because they’ve grown up with phones and technology – tend to send shorter messages with very little punctuation.
So when full stops are used in text, younger people often perceive it to be passive aggressive, and a sign of irritation.
According to The Telegraph Leiden University’s Dr Lauren Fonteyn tweeted: “If you send a text message without a full stop, it’s already obvious that you’ve concluded the message.
“So if you add that additional marker for completion, they will read something into it and it tends to be a falling intonation or negative tone.”
A 2015 study from Binghamton University in New York involving 126 undergraduates, found that texts ending with a full stop were perceived as insincere, whereas messages ending with exclamation points are considered more heartfelt.
Research leader Celia Klin explained that when talking in person it’s much easier to convey emotion by using facial expressions, changing your tone of voice and eye contact.
But these mechanisms can’t be used when texting.
Therefore it makes sense that young people use Emojis, slang and punctuation to put across how they’re feeling.
Professor David Crystal, one of the world’s leading language experts, argues that the meaning behind the usage of full stops is changing fundamentally.
In his book, Making A Point, he writes: “You look at the internet or any instant messaging exchange – anything that is a fast dialogue taking place. People simply do not put full stops in, unless they want to make a point.”
He goes on to say that full stops are being used as an emotion marker.
This comes after a debate was started by writer Rhiannon Cosslett, who tweeted: “Older people – do you realise that ending a sentence with a full stop comes across as sort of abrupt and unfriendly to younger people in an email/chat? Genuinely curious.”
Which prompted crime novelist Sophie Hannah to say: “Just asked 16-year-old son – apparently this is true. If he got a message with full stops at the end of sentences he’d think the sender was ‘weird, mean or too blunt'”.